The Danish Voter
Democratic Ideals and Challenges
Inside the politics of an idealized democracy
To many international experts, politicians, and commentators, Denmark stands out as an ideal society with a well-functioning welfare state, low levels of corruption, and a high degree of social and political stability. Like other countries, however, Denmark faces challenges brought on by overall social changes. Particularly the challenges of maintaining a prosperous economy and the growing number of immigrants from different ethnic and religious backgrounds have left their mark on Danish society over the past 50 years. But how have Danish voters reacted to these challenges?
In order to understand the foundation of the Danish ideal, the authors analyze voter behavior from the early 1970s until 2019. The Danish Voter investigates a series of interesting questions concerning voters’ reactions to the two macrosocial challenges—and how these reactions impact the foundations for the ideal. The individual chapters consider how the challenges have weakened the traditional class cleavage while giving rise to new divisions based on gender and education. They also show how electoral polarization on economic redistribution has remained strong even in spite of depolarization in the parties’ positions on this dimension. On cultural issues like immigration, however, the challenge of diversity has resulted in a dramatic increase in polarization among both parties and voters. By investigating the drivers of political trust, the authors show how voters respond to enacted policies.
The Danish Voter holds important insights for readers interested in the politics of Western Europe where countries face similar challenges. Indeed, due to an electoral system open to new influences, the Danish case is an important test case for theories about political development of contemporary Western societies.
Praise / Awards
“[The Danish Voter] gives a very thorough description of voting behavior in Denmark and is a valuable source for anyone interested in comparative voting behavior. For scholars of European voting behavior it is a must-read.”
—Mikael Persson, University of Gothenburg
“The Danish Voter is at the same time a well-written, readily accessible, state-of-the-art, in-depth case study of decades of electoral change in one of the Scandinavian welfare states. [. . .] The authors do a great job applying a well-known analytic framework to the Danish case, providing an effective starting point for students and researchers who need an introduction to the study of societal and political change in Denmark.”
—Henrik Ekengren Oscarsson, University of Gothenburg
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